I got a call last week from my good friend Ken, who is the youth minister at Sunset Canyon Baptist Church in Dripping Springs (I’m learning to refer to this town as “Drip” like a true Marble Fallsian). He invited me to accompany he and his wife Meredith to hear Rob Bell speak on his, “The Gods Aren’t Angry” Tour.
If you are not acquainted with Rob Bell I encourage you to do so. He is a gifted writer but in my opinion a much better speaker. He is the pastor of Mars Hill, is the featured speaker of the Nooma video series and has written the books Velvet Elvis and SexGod. Check him out, especially Velvet Elvis and the Nooma’s.
Anyway, I have been trying to articulate the experience appropriately since Saturday night. The tour is billed as, “Part anthropology, part history, part deconstruction – this is new material that Rob hasn’t taught before, exploring how humans invented religion to make themselves feel better.”
I didn’t know what to expect going in. What I got was a sermon that was over 1 1/2 hours long but throughout was engaging, interesting, and compelling. Meredith, Ken, and I are typical jaded, cynical seminarians and even we, in spite of ourselves, found ourselves somehow lighter and freer as we left.
As Meredith stated on her blog, to restate or summarize his sermon simply would cheat you out of the experience. IF you have viewed a Nooma before, it was like an incredible, 1 1/2 hour, live Nooma complete with music. Unfortunately the tour has left Texas, but I’m sure it will come to DVD and I will buy it and distribute it generously when it does. I’ll let you know.
But for a preacher, for a sinner, for a follower of Christ is was an incredible evening of worship. The preaching event still can be relevant, challenging, engaging, and transforming. The young, overwhelmed, in-over-his-head preacher can still be moved by the sermons of others. Three friends can be drawn together in community through shared worship. The Bible, even for jaded seminarians, still is fresh, and True, and speaks in new ways to each of us. Transformation does occur. A better life is available. My relationship with Christ is dynamic.
It is 1:00 AM and I can’t sleep. And life is rich.